Live Review: Busted and Hanson at Leeds First Direct Arena

Can’t quite believe Busted are over 20 years old, if anything makes you feel really ancient it is when a band you still think of as relatively current announce a Greatest Hits twentieth anniversary tour. But here we are at Leeds Arena that they have packed out with fans from the early noughties, all happy that the pre-gig music on the speakers is completely from that era, so we have a warm up with Green Day and My Chemical Romance before the 3 brothers Hanson take to the stage.

Review and Photos by John Hayhurst

Those kids were so young when ‘MMMBop’ was a worldwide smash that anyone could have taken to the stage and we wouldn’t have known any different until those harmonies kick in. They did utilise the diamond shaped stage though, and loved getting up and personal with any fan daring to outstretch their hands. This was a comprehensive run through from a highly competent band, but everyone expected their biggest hit to be played last and they left the stage without MMMBopping – more of that later.

The voice of Stephen Fry booms out, giving us a 5 minute warning and then we get a mash up of Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ followed by AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’. Then a video intro from Christopher Lloyd as Doctor Emmett Brown from Back to the Future, the band appear on stage to a puff of smoke and bright backlights turning them into silhouettes for all to see.
They drop down to the main stage and start with ‘Air Hostess’, Matt and James were running along the walkways and Charlie stayed where he was for the time being.

What we got was a well produced set of their greatest hits which appear on their now No1 album Greatest Hits 2.0 which did include a re-appearance from Hanson for ‘MMMBop’ and ‘Sleeping with the light on’. Great to see old Nokia phones and MSN Messenger-style chat boxes alongside clips from their early years on the big screens at the back and sides.

They jokingly changed the age of their teacher Miss McKenzie in ‘What I Go To School For’ to 53 as well. There was room for a new song ‘Good One’ and the chorus gets some serious pyro accompaniment. Some of the hits had a heavier workout, particularly ‘3am’ and ‘You said No’ where Charlie proved he can still hit the high notes.

We also get the cheesy pop of ‘Thunderbirds’ after they make jokes about the film failing and then they end the main set with ‘Crashed The Wedding’, but not before Matt declaring how overwhelmed they have been with the support for this, the biggest tour they have ever done. It feels like they could deliver more of the same over the next couple of years as they are all in a great place right now.

As they left the stage to the biggest cheer, a video from their infamous Brit Award win is played and they join in with a stomping live version of the Undertones’ classic ‘Teenage Kicks’. Then Christopher Lloyd is back on to take us to the ‘Year 3000’. More pyro, smoke and confetti and a crowd pleasing raucous run through of the track – it is over too soon but they had played everything tonight!

“If you still want us then we will be back” they cried, a full Leeds Arena definitely wanted some of that. Rather than a twentieth anniversary celebration, this may be the start of a new chapter in Busted’s story.

Set list: Air Hostess, Meet You There, Loser Kid, You Said No, Everything I Knew, MMMBop (with Hanson), Sleeping With The Light On (with Hanson), Good One, What I Go To School For, Who’s David, Falling For You, Thunderbirds Are Go, She Wants To Be Me, 3AM, Crashed The Wedding.
Encore: Teenage Kicks, Year 3000.